Transportation improvements can have potential adverse impacts on the natural environment since they generally stimulate new development. The region’s long-term viability is tied to the quality of its environmental resources. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires transportation planning agencies like AMATS to integrate environmental considerations into the transportation planning process. Environmental resources that AMATS considers include air quality, climate change, stormwater management, and social, economic and environmental concerns in the region.

Air Quality

The effect of vehicle emissions on air quality is a major consideration in transportation planning for the region. Individual vehicle trips may seem insignificant, but their cumulative effect is a major determinant in the region’s air quality. Air quality conformity demonstrates that the transportation programs in the region conform to applicable air quality standards. As the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) continues to tighten the current ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) standards, the region may be required to implement more control measures on ozone and PM2.5. While more controls may be necessary, much of the area’s pollution originates outside the area and is carried by wind patterns into the region. AMATS will continue to monitor air quality issues and push for more statewide controls, as opposed to attainment area controls.

Climate Change

AMATS is working closely with officials throughout the state and at the federal level in order to prepare for climate change impacts on the regional transportation system. The greater Akron region is making an effort by considering bicycle, pedestrian and transit recommendations. Park and ride lots and the Gohio Commute program will also aid in reducing GHGs (greenhouse gases) through carpooling. Best management practices designed to infiltrate stormwater such as bioswales, permeable pavement, and reducing curb-and-gutter, are techniques that can help protect the environment and transportation infrastructure from disaster.

Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure is an approach to water management that protects, restores, or mimics the natural water cycle by reducing peak flows to streets and storm sewers. AMATS encourages the use of green infrastructure to reduce potential negative impacts of stormwater runoff such as rain gardens, permeable pavements, green roofs, infiltration planters, trees, and rainwater harvesting systems.

Air Quality Conformity Analysis